The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's giant-killer came to the Coppin Center last night and showed why it has become the league's eminent team.
With guard Tommy Adams pouring in a career-high 32 points, Hampton never trailed Coppin and concluded its two-game Baltimore swing with an 81-69 victory over the Eagles before a crowd of 717.
Hampton (6-1, 2-0 MEAC) surprised Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament as the league champion last March and opened this season by beating North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., 77-69.
In their third straight defeat, the Eagles kept hanging around, making one promising run after another, only to be repulsed each time by Adams' 8-for-11 outburst from three-point range.
Coppin (2-4, 1-2) was tied only once (at 31 seconds into the second half) and was still within 56-54 with 7:28 remaining before Adams hit two straight three-pointers and two of three free throws after being fouled while attempting another.
As the crowd chanted "Get No. 10" (Adams), the game belonged to No. 10.
"Anytime Coppin made a run, I tried to step up," said Adams, the most experienced holdover from a Tarvis Williams-dominated Pirates team. "I want to go out with a bang and I felt I wanted to show some leadership.
"As the point guard, it's my job to get them open if somebody else is feeling it. Tonight, I was feeling it and I was trying to find the gaps in the zone. As long as the shot is going, I'll keep on firing it."
As a team, the Pirates were 13-for-26 from beyond the arc; Coppin was 3-for-15. In essence, that was the ball game.
"They're a tough team to play because they basically play with four guards and all four can go to the basket and also shoot," said Eagles coach Fang Mitchell. "I guess we have to do a better job of finding the No. 1 shooter.
"He was on fire. Adams put them on his back and carried them. We just ran into a pretty hot team."
Despite four straight three-pointers by Adams to launch the Pirates' scoring, Coppin's changing defenses kept Hampton off-balance for most of the first half. Hampton committed seven turnover and did not shoot a free throw while easing into a two-point halftime lead.
"They had us confused at times," said Pirates coach Steve Merfeld. "But in the second half, our kids made some great adjustments. It obviously helps to have a player of Tommy Adams' ability.
"Last year, we centered a lot around Tarvis because he earned that right. This year, Tommy is the guy who has to make the shots."
Lost in the Adams explosion was a second straight career high for Larry Tucker (Dunbar), who scored 25 points and went 9-for-9 from the line while establishing an offensive presence for the Eagles.
"Larry gave us some inside offense, and I did see a little growth in our team," said Mitchell. "We need him to have a career high."
Coppin plays its next 10 games on the road, starting Saturday at the University of Cincinnati.